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Peter Pan & Wendy offers a surprising twist on the classic tale

Marian reviews the new Peter Pan & Wendy, an adaptation of the classic Peter Pan story with a twist...

By Marian Herez, Second Year, International Business Management

Peter Pan & Wendy (2023) is a movie directed by David Lowery, released on April 28th on Disney Plus. It is based on J.M. Barrie’s novel Peter Pan, published in 1904, and it stars Alexander Molony as Peter Pan, Ever Gabo Anderson as Wendy Darling and Jude Law as Captain Hook.

Courtesy of Eric Zachanowich/Disney Enterprises on IMDB

The movie follows the adventures of Peter Pan, Wendy Darling and her brothers in Neverland as they battle with the ferocious Captain Hook with the help of Peter Pan’s Lost Boys and Tiger Lily (Alyssa Wapanatâhk). Following many adaptations released over the years, Peter Pan & Wendy (2023) stays true to the original story with a simple but creative twist that adds depth to the plot.

The movie starts in the Darlings’ family home on Wendy’s last night at home before being shipped off to boarding school. She plays with her younger brothers before being scolded by her parents and told to act more grown-up. Later, she confesses to her mother that she does not want to grow up and that she does not want things to change.

That night, Peter Pan and Tinkerbell (Yara Shahidi) come to the Darlings’ home to take Wendy away to Neverland, where there is no growing up. So, Wendy and her brothers, John (Joshua Pickering) and Michael (Jacobi Jupe), join Peter and Tinkerbell on their adventure to defeat Captain Hook and end up meeting the Lost Boys (who are not all boys – a nice change) and Tiger Lily.  

Peter Pan & Wendy (2023) // Courtesy of Disney and IMDB

What I liked most about the movie was Captain Hook’s backstory which shows how Peter Pan and Captain Hook came to be enemies, as presented in a scene between Peter and Wendy, where Peter tells Wendy about his past and Captain Hook’s connection to it.

What makes this plot point even richer and highlights, put simply, Peter Pan’s childishness is Captain Hook’s version of the events that led up to their animosity, which he also tells Wendy later in the movie.

The conflicting tales showcase that Peter Pan truly is a child who sees the world in absolutes and in black and white. He sees grown-ups as bad people and children as good people.

Yara Shahidi as Tinkerbell in Peter Pan & Wendy (2023) // Courtesy of Disney and IMDB

I really liked the way Shahidi portrayed Tinkerbell in this movie. The well-known fairy is usually portrayed as Peter Pan’s loyal sidekick, predictably jealous of Wendy. However, in this movie, Tinkerbell is shown to be misunderstood by Peter and surprisingly becomes understood by Wendy. She is also less sassy and more inquisitive and caring, especially towards Peter.

Furthermore, I liked the music scenes added to the movie, especially the songs the pirates sang. They amplified the atmosphere of some scenes, especially the sitting-on-the-edge-of-your-seat kind of scenes, which were scattered all throughout the movie.

Lastly, the ending was just as bittersweet as the other adaptations, with another surprising twist added in, this time about Peter Pan’s backstory. All these points mentioned are my favourite parts of the movie and are what made me really enjoy it.

Peter Pan & Wendy (2023) // Courtesy of Disney and IMDB

However, the one thing I did not like was the lack of chemistry between Peter and Wendy. Their dialogue with one another often felt forced and lacked the charisma, childishness and innocence that is often shown in other adaptations, notably in the 2003 adaptation Peter Pan.

For example, Wendy scolds Peter for thinking he could defeat Captain Hook on his own, saying, “You have a magical fairy that makes you fly, a gaggle of children who do your bidding, with a princess who cleans up after you while you’re off gallivanting with pirates.”

Peter Pan & Wendy (2023) // Courtesy of Disney and IMDB

Wendy's words highlight the difference between them: she is a mature young woman who has no choice but to grow up, and he is a child who will never grow up. Although Wendy is known to be the mother-figure character in the story, the bond between her and Peter is that of a first love or a childhood crush. Unfortunately, I did not find that portrayed in this movie.

To conclude, Peter Pan & Wendy is an adaptation of J.M Barrie’s book that I will always remember. As an avid fan of Peter Pan (2003), this movie did not disappoint in the end, and I really enjoyed watching it. If you are in the mood for a fantasy/adventure movie with twists and turns, this movie could be just the right one for you.

Featured Image: Disney and IMDB

Have you seen this new rendition of Peter Pan on Disney Plus?